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BDH: New conference features student capstones

February 25, 2010
By Zung Nguyen Vu

The first Theories in Action conference, a new forum for seniors to share their capstone projects with the community, will be held on campus on April 30 and May 1. The two-day conference will be an opportunity for seniors who worked in groups or as individuals to showcase their work and engage in discussions with students and faculty in different departments, according to the conference’s organizers.

Student coordinators Amanda Machado ’10 and Nikkisha Smith ’10 said activities during the two days will include a combination of presentations, poster displays and roundtable discussions.

A maximum of 30 senior capstone projects will be chosen to participate in the conference, Machado said. She said the coordinators want the chosen projects to represent the diversity of academic interests at Brown. These projects could take a variety of forms such as a research paper, a group independent study project, a fellowship, an art installation or a community service project related to or independent from Brown, she said. The roundtable discussions will be composed of students and professors working on related projects in different fields.

The idea for this conference was initiated by Dean of the College Katherine Bergeron and taken on by the Curricular Resource Center, Machado said. “Presentations and projects at Brown usually circulate around specific enclaves,” she said. But this academic conference will bring separate efforts “to the whole community,” she added.

Smith said the conference aims to give participants the opportunity to reflect publicly on their work done at Brown and discuss its social relevance. Through the conference and follow-up dinner, participants will have a chance to network, learn from people with various interests and form relationships that might lead to post-graduation partnership, she added.

As seniors themselves, Smith and Machado said they feel the necessity for an event like this. “I know that many of my friends are involved in cool things. I see them go to meetings, but I don’t know exactly about what,” Machado said. “This conference is a chance for seniors to look back at their time at Brown, to see their friends in action, sharing their fields of interest.”

Smith and Machado said seniors can apply to share their projects by submitting an application, which is due by March 8. Smith added that the project proposal does not have to be fully complete or in-depth, as long as it is “an interesting piece of work that can inspire and engage the Brown and Providence community.”

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